Tips For Managing An Arthritis Flare
Use these tips to manage arthritis flares when they arise.
1. Tips for Managing an Arthritis Flare
2. Plan ahead with your rheumatologist.
3. Plan ahead at home, too.
4. Watch the signs
5. Guard against infection
6. Give it a rest.
7. Care for your emotions
8. Slow down dont stop.
9. Apply the heat and the chill.
10. Exercise your mind.
11. Ask for help.
12. Practice good sleep hygiene
How Does Osteoarthritis Evolve
It is likely that in the early stages, damage to the cartilage might be completely reversible, thanks to the healing capacities of the lesions, especially in the very young.
Once these lesions become significantly established and especially after a certain age, it will be difficult for the body to repair these lesions, osteoarthritis will then evolve to a worsening stage which means that there will be an increasingly greater loss of cartilage.
This loss of cartilage evolves in 3 clinical forms:
- a slow and progressive deterioration over several decades
- or, conversely, a very rapid deterioration leading to loss of cartilage in 12 to 24 months (this is known as rapidly destructive osteoarthritis
- or an intermediate form in which the evolution is punctuated by periods in which the osteoarthritis evolves very quickly and other periods, on the contrary, when the osteoarthritis does not evolve or evolves very little.
Osteoarthritis does not evolve uniformly, it is unpredictable. It can remain silent for a long time and not manifest itself even though the joint looks very damaged on the X-ray. But it can also worsen rapidly over several weeks or months at a stage when the X-rays are almost normal. It is this imbalance between pain and radiographic osteoarthritis which makes it difficult to understand and evaluate.
Symptoms Of An Arthritis Flare
There are some arthritis flare symptoms found in every type of arthritis, like extreme joint pain and stiffness. Morning joint stiffness is a common symptom for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. However, each type of arthritis also has symptoms unique to the particular arthritis. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is symmetric, meaning it usually affects both sides of the body, like both hands, both knees and/or both feet. Following are some of the typical symptoms of each type of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis joint pain and swelling joint is warm to the touch joint stiffness fatigue joint redness loss of appetite low-grade fever limited range of joint motion symmetrical joint effect.
Osteoarthritis joint pain and stiffness joint swelling can occur but is not as common as it is in people with rheumatoid arthritis fatigue, often induced by pain experienced during the night that keeps a person awake may affect a joint on one side of the body, like one knee or one ankle.
Psoriatic arthritis joint pain, swelling and stiffness joint is warm to the touch most likely to cause foot pain where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones, swollen fingers and toes and/or lower back pain .
Gout develops quickly and joint becomes very painful joint swelling, warmth, reddish discoloration tenderness.
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What Causes Gout To Flare Up
Gout is a complex form of arthritis that can flare up suddenly and severely. It occurs as a result of having high levels of uric acid, which makes it easier for urate crystals to form. These sharp crystals can deposit in your joints, causing inflammation, swelling and pain.
“The most common trigger of gout is eating purine-rich foods, since high levels of purines can increase the amount of uric acid in your bloodstream,” explains Dr. Alam.
Gout-sufferers can help avoid flare-ups by avoiding foods rich in purines, including:
- Red meat
- Certain types of seafood, including tuna, scallops and trout
- Alcohol, particularly beer
- Fruit juices and other beverages that contain fructose
“Similar to rheumatoid arthritis, a flare-up of gout can be alleviated by using a cold compress on the affected joint, which helps reduce the inflammation that’s causing your pain, swelling and stiffness,” says Dr. Alam.
How Is Arthritis Treated
Theres no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can help you manage the condition. Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of the arthritis, its symptoms and your overall health.
Conservative treatments include:
- Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain medications may help relieve your arthritis symptoms. Some medications, called biologics, target your immune systems inflammatory response. A healthcare provider may recommend biologics for your rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
- Physical therapy: Rehabilitation can help improve strength, range of motion and overall mobility. Therapists can teach you how to adjust your daily activities to lessen arthritic pain.
- Therapeutic injections: Cortisone shots may help temporarily relieve pain and inflammation in your joints. Arthritis in certain joints, such as your knee, may improve with a treatment called viscosupplementation. It injects lubricant to help joints move smoothly.
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How Psoriatic Arthritis Is Diagnosed
The diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis can best be made by a rheumatologist who is familiar with the many subtleties of this disease. X-rays can sometimes assist in the diagnosis. A careful history and a detailed physical examination with particular attention to the joints, skin, and nails are most important. Once the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis is made, your rheumatologist will devise a treatment strategy for you.
Follow Your Healthcare Provider’s Advice
Because arthritis flares are somewhat inevitable, you should know what your healthcare provider wants you to do when a flare occurs. Have a conversation with your healthcare provider ahead of time. Flares are typically inconvenient, meaning they can occur during the night or on the weekend when your healthcare provider is unavailable.
Know the maximum limits of your pain medication. Discuss whether you should always have a backup on hand or ready to be refilled. Know what your healthcare provider wants you to do.
Survival Tips For Managing An Ra Flare
A rheumatoid arthritis flare-up, or flare, can cause joint pain and swelling, fatigue, and anxiety. Thankfully, certain coping strategies can help you manage symptoms and perhaps even shorten the length of the flare, so you can get back to your normal routine as soon as possible.
Below are 15 tips for managing the symptoms of an RA flare-up at home. These suggestions are meant to be used in addition to the treatment plan recommended by your physician.
Have Quick Meals Ready To Go
An arthritis flare can last one or two days, a week, or more. Unfortunately, a flare usually knocks you off of your usual pace. It is unlikely that you will feel like cooking until you get the flare to simmer down. It will help to have easy meals available.
You never know when a flare will strike, so be prepared. Freeze leftovers so they are ready to go. Stock some of your favorite frozen dinners. If you have nothing on hand, call for delivery.
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Managing Your Arthritis Flare Ups
Even when your arthritis is well-controlled, it’s still possible to have a flare-up. Arthritis symptoms will get temporarily worse after a time of being less severe. When you experience a flare-up, a joint or joints may swell or become more swollen you may even feel more pain and stiffness, especially in the morning then your body may feel more fatigued. When you have all these things happening at the same time, the flare-up is considered more serious. There are ways to deal with your flare-ups, here are three steps you may want to take to help yourself when you have an arthritis flare-up.
Step 1: Recognizing what is happening, when it’s happening.The first step to managing a flare is to first recognize when you are having one. If you can identify that you are having a flare-up then it becomes easier to start managing it. Being aware of your body and how it feels and learning to pay attention to how arthritis affects your body makes it easier to see if there are any changes, then you will be able to recognize it. When you realize there has been a change, admit it, don’t go into denial and hope that everything will just get better on its own. It doesn’t.
How To Treat Arthritis In The Knees
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 58,611 times.
Research suggests that treatment may slow down arthritis and relieve your symptoms, though there’s no cure for it.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Arthritis occurs when your joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in your joint wears away, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks your joints. Experts say arthritis in the knee is very common because it’s a weight-bearing joint, but you can get arthritis in any joint.XResearch source Although arthritis may interfere with your life, you may be able to manage your condition.
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What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis To Flare Up
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the more sinister forms of arthritis. Not only can the damage to your joints lead to swelling, stiffness and pain, there’s no way to undo it aka, it’s permanent.
With rheumatoid arthritis, there’s likely always some low level of inflammation affecting your joints, but it can also flare up in response to stress or, believe or not, the weather specifically, rain.
“When you’re stressed, either mentally or physically, your body is less equipped to handle the inflammation caused by your condition,” explains Dr. Alam. “Since it leads to swelling and stiffness, more inflammation means more intense pain.”
As for why a change in weather might trigger a flare up of rheumatoid arthritis, it’s all about joints under pressure.
“Changes in weather, such as rain, are often accompanied by changes in air pressure, and this change is thought to affect the pressure within your joints making any underlying swelling feel more painful,” explains Dr. Alam.
While you can’t control the weather, you can take steps to reduce your stress levels. And when a flare up hits, you can use a cold compress to reduce the inflammation that’s causing some of your pain.
Can Imaging Exams Detect Arthritis
Imaging exams can help your healthcare provider get a clear picture of your bones, joints and soft tissues. An X-ray, MRI or ultrasound can reveal:
- Bone fractures or dislocations that may be causing you joint pain.
- Cartilage breakdown around your joints.
- Muscle, ligament or tendon injuries near your joints.
- Soft tissue inflammation.
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Treating And Managing Flare
Talk to your doctor about how to handle flare-ups, and let them know if they happen a lot. They may need to change your treatment plan.
Some flare-ups get better after you rest and take over-the-counter pain meds for a couple of days. Call your doctor if they last longer than that, or if your symptoms are intense.
Medication changes. You might need to adjust your medication temporarily, or add a new one. Medicines that can help with flares include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , either prescription or over-the-counter. You may take them as a pill or put them on your skin. Acetaminophen helps some people. Your doctor may also inject steroids into your joints.
Rest. One of the best ways to deal with a flare is to take it easy. Take a sick day if you need to. Ask family members to help out with chores. But try not to stop moving completely. Do a few gentle stretches to keep yourself from getting stiff.
Hot and cold therapies. Moist heat around your joints boosts blood flow and relaxes muscles. A warm paraffin wax dip may make your hands or feet feel better. A special machine heats the wax, which is the same type used in candles.
If too much exercise causes flare-ups for you, use an ice pack right after your workout to ease pain. A cold compress may help at other times, too. Cold constricts your blood vessels, which decreases blood flow. That leads to less pain.
Limit the use of either of these methods to two to four times a day, for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
What Is Knee Osteoarthritis
4.1million people in England have osteoarthritis of the Knee. 18% of the population aged over 45 years old has the condition.
Arthritis Research UK suggest that only 18% of people with arthritis have a care plan to help them manage their symptoms. Sub-optimal management of osteoarthritis permits people to suffer symptoms unnecessarily.
Not everyone who has arthritis will suffer with symptoms, but those that do can experience pain, stiffness, reduced mobility and function. The experience of OA is often unique to each individual.
Some people may just have pain, whereas others may simply have stiff joints. Typically, symptomatic people with knee OA will have a combination of symptoms. Stiff knees often hinder daily functional tasks like walking, getting in and out of the bath or car, and putting on shoes .
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What Is Knee Arthritis And How Can It Be Treated
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease and a leading source of chronic pain and disability in the United States. Knee osteoarthritis comprises over 80% of the diseases total burden and affects almost 20% of Americans over the age of forty-five.
The knee is the largest and most solid joint in the body. It is the connector between the lower end of the femur , the upper end of the tibia , and the kneecap.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Knee Arthritis
A knee joint affected by arthritis may be swollen and painful. The discomfort can be felt anywhere around the knee and evolves gradually over time. Patients often present to the doctors office with years of pain either on the inside or the outside of the knee, or simply global knee pain that has progressed for years.
Other signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee may include:
- Inflammation in the joint that interferes with bending and straightening the knee
- Discomfort that worsens in the morning, or after resting
- Flare-ups after robust activity
- Locking of the knee as it moves loose fragments of cartilage can cause clicking, snapping, or grinding noises
- A general feeling of weakness or collapsing in the knee
- Many patients observe increased discomfort during damp or rainy weather
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How To Treat An Arthritis Flare
Sometimes arthritis flare-ups cannot be prevented. At this point, all you can do is get through it the best you can. There are some things you can do that may help provide you some relief.
Make a Plan
You should try to have a plan in place for when you are experiencing arthritis flare-ups.
If you have unavoidable activities that cannot be canceled when your arthritis acts up, let the key people involved know what is happening that way, accommodations can be made.
Apply Heat or Cold
You can choose to use a hot or cold compact or a hot/cold cream, whichever better fits your needs. If you are using a heating pad or an ice pack, youll want to apply it directly to the painful area for 15-20 minute intervals throughout the day. For the hot/cold cream, youll need to follow the product instructions and be sure not to overuse the topical treatment.
When youre already in pain, its essential to get enough rest. You dont want to put more pressure on your inflamed joints.
You may feel like you are getting behind, but your body needs the time to rest to not prolong the pain. Dont push yourself during a flare.
While you must get plenty of rest during a flare, you have to be careful of being too still.
Its crucial to get in some low-impact movement like going for a short walk or stretching. There are also hand exercises you can do to keep the joints from becoming stiff.
Consult Your Doctor
What Is Total Knee Replacement
Total knee arthroplasty comprises a replacement of both the end of the femur bone and a replacement of the top part of the tibia . The procedure also involves placing a plastic spacer between where the cartilage used to be between the femur and the tibia.
In total knee arthroplasty surgery, a surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage and bone, and insert new state-of-the-art metal or plastic joint components to restore normal functioning of the knee.
From 1999 to 2008, total knee replacement procedures in the U.S. more than doubled for the population at large and tripled for people between the ages of 45 to 64. By 2012, surgery for end-stage knee osteoarthritis was performed on almost 660,000 Americans every year.
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Symptoms Of Severe Osteoarthritis
If you suffer from severe osteoarthritis, pain may take place with motion and activity, along with when you take rest. Your motion range of the affected joints will remain limited if you suffer from severe osteoarthritis. Besides, you may experience joint locking or joint buckling problems. Even though, locking or buckling joints seem to be nuisances, they lead to severe consequences, especially when your joint locks or buckles. Along with this, you may experience a few of the additional symptoms, such as-
- Stiffness while walking
- Swelling across your bone joints after the prolonged use
- Cracking or clicking of joint noises
- Joint pain, which becomes worse as your day progresses
- Difficulty in doing daily tasks
- Increase in incidents related to tripping and falling.